Sunday, February 10, 2013

Abele Throws Farley Under The Rug

At the end of 2011, as people were gearing up for the spring elections, Chris Abele sicced his Director of Administration, Patrick Farley, on Johnny Thomas, a former county supervisor who was running to be the comptroller for the City of Milwaukee. Farley did his damnedest to get Thomas framed for taking bribe money.

Abele was so proud of his henchman that he touted Farley's actions every chance he got, including in his 2012 inaugural speech.

Given all this, it was not surprising that the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors balked at confirming Farley to continue to serve the county in his Director of Administration.

Abele then started campaigning hard on his crony's behalf. There were email blasts, ads, letters to the editor and a Facebook page to get Farley reinstated. Eventually, against their better judgement, the Board eventually did confirm Farley.

But then came a snag for Abele and Farley

Thomas was acquitted. The case was so weak and Farley's attempt at entrapment was so obvious that it only took the jury an hour to clear Thomas.

Farley's credibility was shot. His own testimony was so damning that there were calls for Farley to resign or be fired:
And Farley? What happens to him?

I just got off the phone with Brendan Conway, Abele's spokesman. He said that Abele would not fire Farley and that he hasn't asked for Farley's resignation. Farley hasn't turned in his resignation, either.

He should.

There's no way that Farley can act as head of the Department of Administrative Services any longer.

His testimony on the witness stand was so damning.

Not only did he not have a handle on the workings of his own agency, but he deliberately lied to and manipulated Thomas. He admitted doing so “because he was under the direction of the district attorney's office.”

I wonder: how will anyone take Farley at face value ever again? How will anyone ever have a conversation with him and trust him at his word? How will they know that he's not deliberately lying and manipulating them and setting them up for a fall?

There's no way it can be done.

For the good of Milwaukee County, Farley must leave office.

Farley's also got problems outside of his county duties. As it came out during trial, Farley is quite active in campaigning. He's a known fundraiser.

So which candidate is going to be dumb enough to take a contribution from Farley when he deliberately attempted to bribe an innocent man?

Farley even admitted on the stand that there's no way that he would have advised Thomas the same way he would advise a friend or client because because he was lying to Thomas.

Farley's credibility is shot. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. And yet Conway said that what Farley did was “an admirable thing” and he should be able to keep his job. Right.
Abele refused to demand for integrity in his office and kept Farley on board.

Things eventually quieted down, but the uneasiness was obvious.

But things have escalated quickly again.

Abele launched his full frontal assault on the County Board by trying to make them nothing more than an empty shell that he can manipulate into rubber stamping his destruction of Milwaukee County. However, Abele and his handlers aren't the best or the most politically savvy. They did not expect that anyone would question just what he was doing with his office.

All of a sudden, Farley became a liability and Abele did what he normally does. He got rid of Farley.

Oh, he didn't fire him or anything like that. He just tried to sweep him under the rug by moving him into his charity group:
[Don Tyler] replaces Patrick Farley, who held the post for two years but came under criticism from the County Board for his participation in a sting operation involving a county supervisor. A jury, however, acquitted then-Supervisor Johnny Thomas of taking a $500 bribe.

Tyler's job requires County Board confirmation.

Abele said Farley was shifting to a job with the Argosy Foundation, a family charity run by Abele's family.
The article also points out that Tyler will be paid $140,000.

Hmm, high paid cronies doing political work on county time. Not only does it remind one a lot of Scott Walker*, it also demonstrates quite clearly that if one is sincerely honest about reforming county government, the best place to start is the county executive's office.

ADDENDUM: I am hearing word that Abele moved Farley, who is well-known to be a political operative and very good fund raiser to Argosy in order to start setting up a campaign for higher office - either governor or Senator.  More on this later.

*I bet that Walker really wishes he had his own agency to go and hide problem people in.  He tried a version of that with Tim Russell.  It didn't work out too well for them.

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